I honestly can’t believe I have to do this, but apparently we need to argue about incest. Last week we told you about the Columbia political science (and adjunct law) professor, David Epstein, who is accused of having a sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter.
I’d hoped that most reasonable people would agree that incest is wrong and shouldn’t be allowed. But I’m dealing with lawyers and quite a few homophobes. I wasn’t exactly surprised that commenters made various Lawrence-based arguments and ridiculous connections between incest and gay sex.
And if the commenters are defending incest, you can best believe that Epstein’s lawyer is defending incest too…
We know that part of the appeal of Ivy League schools is the incestuous nature of the high-end job market. People like to hire their own, and if successful Ivy League graduates prefer to work with or mentor fellow Ivy League alums, then the whole Ivy system becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
See, it’s fun to talk about “incest” when you are using the word to make a creative intellectual analogy. It’s much less fun to use the word incest when you are talking about… incest. Revoltingly, David Epstein, a political science professor at Columbia University who also occasionally teaches legal seminars, has been accused of having a consensual sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. According to the New York Daily News, Epstein has been charged with a single count of felony incest.
I’m find myself wishing he was accused of having inappropriate sex with one of his college-aged students, or using an escort service, or having sex with donkeys, or something other than allegedly doing it with his daughter. Because that’s just a gross perversion of nature.
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In a land that is right here and in a time that is right now, a technology has arisen so powerful that it can replace basic human document review. Is it time to bow down before our new robot overlords?
First, here’s a little story about me: my life in the legal world began as a paralegal. My first case was a GIANT patent infringement case that was already six years old and had involved as many as five companies, multiple US courts, the ITC and an international standards committee. I knew nothing about any of this.
On my first day, my supervisor (a paralegal with at least eight other cases driving her crazy) sat me down in front of a Concordance database with a 100,000+ patents and patent file histories. “Code these,” she said. I learned that “coding”, for the purposes of this exercise, meant manually typing the inventor’s name, the title of the patent, the assignee, the file date, and other objective data for each document. I worked on that project – and only that project – for at least the first six months of my job. After a week or so, time began to blur.
What I know, in retrospect and with absolutely certainty, is that as time began to blur, so did my judgment. So did my attention to detail. If you could tell me that I did not make at least one mistake a day – one inconsistent spelling, one reversed day and month, one incorrectly spaced title – I frankly would need to see your evidence. I would not believe it. The human mind is trainable but it is not a machine.
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